How to reserve and secure your gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda
How to reserve and secure your gorilla permits in Uganda and Rwanda. Securing your gorilla permit in Uganda or Rwanda starts with having a date or period when you wish to take the gorilla safari. In Uganda, you can do gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience, but both require a gorilla permit. In Rwanda, you can do a gorilla trekking safari.
The Rwanda Developments Board is the gorilla permit selling and regulating body, while the Uganda Wildlife Authority is mandated to sell and hold Uganda gorilla safari permits. You can book a gorilla permit in Uganda or Rwanda through an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris.
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To do gorilla safari in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park are the only homes. Currently, Uganda has 19 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking and 2 gorilla families open for gorilla habituation experience.
Rwanda has Volcanoes National Park as its only home for the mountain gorillas. At the moment, it has 12 gorilla trekking families open to public booking.
Currently, Rwanda has 96 gorilla families open to public booking.
During the peak season, the demand for gorilla permits is extremely high, yet supply is limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla family. The increased tourism in Uganda season is June, July, August, September, December, and January. Before explaining how to book a gorilla permit in Uganda, we need to understand the difference between gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation experience.
What is Gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking is an adventure where a maximum of 8 tourists are allowed to visit a gorilla family and spend 1 hour with them. This gorilla safari adventure is limited to 8 persons for conservation reasons, as the mountain gorillas take precedence even amidst having a gorilla permit.
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer gorilla trekking experiences.
What is Gorilla Habituation experience?
The gorilla habituation experience is an adventure where a maximum of four tourists escort a team of researchers and habituators in the wilderness to follow a semi-habituated gorilla family and stay with them for four hours.
In Uganda, gorilla habituation experience occurs in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Currently, two gorilla families are open to gorilla habituation experience, with 8 gorilla permits open so far.
How to Find Availability Of Gorilla Permits in Uganda or Rwanda?
Below is the procedure you can use to reserve a Uganda or Rwanda gorilla trekking permit
Choose a date or period when you hope to do a gorilla safari with the number of people you hope to travel with. This is to avoid moving back and forth with checking gorilla permit availability.
You can contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority or select an accredited tour operator like Encounter Africa Safaris to secure your gorilla permits in Uganda or Rwanda. We help clients make the necessary gorilla safari plans and provide free advice on the possible activities you can combine with a gorilla tour.
When you use our services, the safari consultant checks the availability of gorilla permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board list.
Upon finding availability, we ask our clients to secure the gorilla permit as soon as possible, especially the peak season permits. These get sold out fast because of the extreme demand worldwide, yet supply is limited to a maximum of 8 per gorilla family.
Later, you are required to provide some personal details, including your full name as presented on your passport, nationality, date of birth, and passport expiry date.
How Much Is A Gorilla Permit In Uganda Or Rwanda?
A Uganda gorilla permit costs $700 per person per trek for foreign nonresidents, $600 for foreign residents, and 250000shsh for East African residents. The cost of a gorilla permit includes and excludes a lot of things:
- Inclusions of gorilla permit cost are park entrance fees, researcher fees for gorilla habituation experience, ranger guide fees, security during gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla conservation support, local community support, one hour with the mountain gorillas during gorilla trekking, and four hours during gorilla habituation experience, certificate after gorilla safari,
- Exclusions of gorilla permit cost are porter hire, accommodation, transport to gorilla safari destinations, snacks, and any other items of a personal nature.
Can I purchase the Uganda or Rwanda Gorilla Permit in Instalment?
Much as making full payment for the gorilla permits is the best decision, the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board allows installment gorilla permit purchases. To qualify for a gorilla permit installment purchase, you must purchase the permit before 90 days before the gorilla trekking date. You must top the gorilla permit before 90 days to gorilla trekking day or receive a penalty.
When you fail to top up your gorilla permit, chances of re-opening it for the public to book are more open.
It is best to book your gorilla permit in full to remember to top it up as required by the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board.
At Encounter Africa Safaris, we can help you plan a gorilla safari, including the gorilla permits and additional amenities. We provide free advice on gorilla safaris and optional activities you may combine with to cover your holiday time.
Can I still Get Discounted Uganda or Rwanda gorilla permits?
In the past, Uganda and Rwanda offered discounted promotional gorilla permits, especially in the low season, but these have since been stopped.
Currently, Uganda and Rwanda are offering discounts on gorilla permit prices for foreign residents, and East African permits all year around. As a promotion strategy, Rwanda also still discounts its low-season gorilla permits to $1050 per person on condition that you spend at least two nights in Akagera National Park or Nyungwe National Park.
When Is The Best Time To Book Uganda Or Rwanda Gorilla Permits?
Reserving in advance of the Uganda or Rwanda Gorilla permit saves you from panicking at the last minute when finding availability. When you book the gorilla permit at least 6 months to a year upfront, you are safe from last-minute panic when demand for the permits is at its peak, yet supply is limited to 8 per gorilla family.
Currently, Uganda has 152 gorilla permits open for gorilla trekking and 8 gorilla permits for habituation experience. Rwanda so far has 96 gorilla trekking permits open for public booking.
During the high tourism season in Uganda and Rwanda, the competition to secure a gorilla permit gets to its peak. Finding last-minute gorilla permits gets rarer as the days draw closer.
Last-minute gorilla permits are hard to find during the low season, and so even when you are waitlisted, chances of getting confirmed become slim as the days of the gorilla trek draw nearer. Besides, it would be best if you secured accommodation for the nights during the gorilla safari since you must report at the ranger station very early in the morning for briefing.
Can I reschedule the gorilla Permit for Uganda or Rwanda?
Write to the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board Reservation office requesting to reschedule the gorilla permit to a future date. Attach some evidence to back up your request in case you have any.
Upon approval, the gorilla permit is moved based on prevailing gorilla permit availability.
Uganda accepts two free gorilla permit reschedules on the same permit. The third time is only approved by the executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Rwanda charged for gorilla permit reschedule.
Where can I Have the best Gorilla safari Adventure In Uganda or Rwanda?
The feeling of standing before the only leftover mountain gorillas brings chills and excitement within your body no matter which gorilla safari destination you are at, that is to say, Uganda or Rwanda. Some tourists have been saying you forget what you may have gone through while planning the gorilla safari because of the adorable look in their shy, sunken brown eyes.
The few differences you can identify in where to do the best gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda include:
Number of gorilla permits available at the moment: Rwanda has 96 gorilla permits open per day, while 152 gorilla trekking permits and 8 gorilla habituation experience permits are open in Uganda. You have more gorilla permit options in Uganda compared to Rwanda
- Number of Gorilla trekking destinations
Uganda has Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park as the gorilla safari destinations. Rwanda has only Volcanoes National Park as its gorilla trekking safari destination.
- Drive Time To Gorilla Safari Destination
The drive time from Kigali airport to Volcanoes National Park is about 3 hours, from Entebbe airport or Kampala, about 8 to 9 hours to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga National Park.
- Additional Activities To Combine With Gorilla Safari
Uganda offers a variety of activities to combine with gorilla safari, chimpanzee trekking, game drives, birding, visiting source River Nile, white water rafting, launch trips, and so much more.
Rwanda is limited with where else to go for gorilla safaris, including chimpanzee trekking, game drives, visit the genocide memorial, and Kigali city tour, to mention but a few.
Are Mountain Gorillas In Uganda Or Rwanda Aggressive?
Before opening a gorilla family to public booking is first habituated until approved and ready to receive new visitors. Besides this, mountain gorillas are naturally calm and shy primates and have never been reported to be aggressive to humans. You need to attend a briefing before the gorilla trek to understand the guidelines of the gorilla safari adventure to avoid agitating the already sensitive mountain gorillas.
When angry, the mountain gorillas may show their emotions by hooting, thumping hard their chests, and pulling grass around them and others.
As you locate the mountain gorillas, you can try not to stare deep into their shy brown eyes, stay closer to the group you are trekking mountain gorillas with so as not to look suspicious, try not to provoke or mimic the mountain gorillas because you do not know what you are communicating and other guidelines.
How Strenuous is Gorilla Safari In Uganda Or Rwanda?
Gorilla safaris are challenging because of the nature of the topography where mountain gorillas are residents. The Virunga area is covered in ancient tropical forest with very old trees and tangled creepers. You need to have some fitness level to complete the trek without getting muscle pulls.
Even the safari wear you put on during gorilla safari must be capable of protecting your body from stinging nettles and rough surfaces of the jungle.
The ranger guide carrying a machete always helps trim the way for tourists to locate the mountain gorillas in case the need arises,
Carry some energy bites to munch on in case you get tired because the time of finding the mountain gorillas has yet to be known breakfast is taken too early to last the entire trek.
Why do I need to hire a porter during gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda?
A porter is a person who helps you carry your belongings during the gorilla safari. It would be best if you had a porter so that you could walk freely in the wilderness. Hiring a porter benefits the local community as this is one of the best direct means of contributing to the local community.
You get to hire the porter just before you start the gorilla trek at an affordable fee. The porter may also give you a push when you are tired.
The porters are local people who also help sensitize others in the community who would wish to encroach on the mountain gorillas habitat about the relevancy of the presence of the mountain gorillas.
They use the funds they collect from being porters to carter for their basic needs like health care treatment, purchasing scholastic materials, and others.
We advise our clients to also generously tip the porters for a service rendered to encourage them to also jealously conserve the mountain gorillas as they reap the benefits from the presence of these primates.
Contact us for more information.